Local expert VM Elite is largely responsible for making travelers fall in love with Chile. Designing and leading adventures with passion, founder Raul Buenaventura and his team have learned over the years the necessary elements for providing a unique experience. “We believe there are four main ingredients that make luxury travel a truly rewarding experience,” says Raul.
REMOTE: When did you launch VM Elite?
Raul: VM Elite was launched in 2014. Previously, and during 8 years of enlightening work as Head of Global Sales for Explora, I became acquainted with tour operators and travel agencies of the distribution channel, especially those located in the United States at the beginning and then globally. I learned what an essential role relations and networking play within the industry and became fascinated by the potential these held if combined with destination expertise and continuous R&D. That’s when I decided to put all these assets into work, launch the VM Elite travel and lifestyle concept of the elite traveler.
REMOTE: Aside from comfort, what other “ingredients” do you believe luxury travel needs to become rewarding?
Raul: We believe there are 4 main ingredients that make luxury travel a truly rewarding experience. First and foremost, and particularly now in this post-Covid world, Private seems to be a basic requirement for luxury. Today we released a Newsletter titled “A New Take on Ultra High-End Ways of Travel… When Everything is Private” where we address just that: how suddenly private travel, whether by jet, helicopter or yacht (or maybe all three!) has become the norm for all those who can afford it. Second, travel itineraries and experiences must be Bespoke, that is, especially designed to suit particular travelers’ tastes, interests, lifestyle and expectations. Third, to add an element of exclusivity, discovery, exploration and surprise, so necessary to captivate the human spirit, travel encounters must take place Off the Beaten Track, where nature is wild and pristine, and human presence has been scarce to non-existent. Lastly, and what we have aimed to make a hallmark of our service, what we call the Human Element, the inclusion of local experts, specialists and guides who will not only inform, but help establish a real connection between the traveler and the environment, its inhabitants and their culture, and the flora and fauna. This last element of real immersion and close contact makes all the difference, turning the entire traveling experience into a genuine memory that travelers may carry with them forever.
REMOTE: How does your passion for and knowledge of Chile impact the itineraries that VM Elite designs? Could you give us an example?
Raul: I feel that my passion for travel, Chile, and our amazing South American brother nations is most patently manifested by continuous R&D. We keep the passion and magic alive by constantly striving to find new encounters, destinations, and products. We listen to what our clients want or dream of, and try to fulfill and exceed their expectations. This way, we keep our itineraries fresh and innovative, not only for our clients, but for everybody involved. This has surely given us an extra plus, because our work remains challenging, interesting and alive, allowing us to succeed in the industry as a DMC both in Chile and Bolivia over the years.